Polynesians, Native Americans, and Latin Americans come from ritualistic cultures. However, Gentiles of the European descent (haole’s) are founded upon a scholarly and doctrinal culture. Our ability to remember, is dependent upon uniting both doctrine and ritual. Since this audience is of the first group, I recommend returning to ritual, …and then transition into doctrine.
Ammon’s Strategy: Consider the strategy that Ammon used when working with King Lamoni, the king of the Lamanites. Amon worked with the Lamanites, in their employ. God provided, within the Lamanite cultural practices, an opportunity for Amon to show forth the power of God. After cutting the arms of the king’s attackers, Amon followed the ritual of the servants, by preparing the king’s horses. Rather than quoting scriptures, Amon approached them by building on common grounds. He first tried the doctrine route, asking the king if he believed in God? The king didn’t know God. So Amon spoke in the king’s terms (the great spirit), and then transitioned the king, by connecting the great spirit, with God. King Lamoni was converted, and his people along with him, using this approach. His brothers, on the other hand weren’t as successful.
Aaron, Omner, Himni, and the others, were in the synagogues, preaching doctrine to the Lamanites. Rather than using the ritual approach of Amon, these used the doctrinal approach, by preaching in the synagogues. They ended up in prison, beaten, starving, and near to death, when Amon and Lamoni rescue them. However, rather than continuing to repeat their mistakes, they learned their lesson. So, when they approached King Lamoni’s father, they used Amon’s approach instead. And from the king’s dad’s conversion, a new people had been established, called the Anti-Nephi-Lehi. These were the parents of the 2,000 stripping warriors.
Modern Application: The modern application is simple. When dealing with Lamanite descendants, reconnecting to rituals will have greater initial impact, than a doctrinal approach. Reading passages of scripture, quoting facts and naming authors only act as a heavy-sedative to put ritual centered people to sleep. It is viewed negatively as a colonization effort, disingenuous, and empty.
In Hawaii, Mo’olelo (telling a story) is the doctrine, or the story. A story is conveyed through different methods. One of which is hula kahiko (ancient hula). Consider, for a moment, the hula as a ritual ordinance. A story, conveyed in a hula, serves as an aid to “never forget.” An ordinance warms you up, providing an expectation, and a framework to fit the doctrine. An ordinance helps to view the forest, from the trees. Ordinances provides a map, and the doctrine is the blinking light, saying, “you are here.”
For nine years, I have tried both approaches, and the ritual approach is always most effective. Ritual is easy to convey, compared to doctrine. When a foundation of understanding of the ritual is established, talking about doctrine is not so foreign. Actually, doctrine becomes very familiar. The purpose of ritual was to maintain the integrity of the doctrine, and vice versa. Both doctrine and ritual go hand in hand to preserve knowledge, but the easiest route for Polynesians, Native Americans, and Latin Americans, is, hands down, …from rituals to doctrine.
Conclusion: In my experience with performing arts like hula or hoop dancing, it is far easier to speak to people about the symbols they saw in the dance, and then open the scriptures, than it is to go directly to the scriptures. Initially, rituals are necessary to develop interest in the doctrine. But, as the doctrine grows with the ritual, studying the doctrine has life breathed into it. The doctrine jumps off the pages, to find residence in your heart and mind. That is the process of at-one-ment. You are one with God.
We have been falsely led to believe that our Hawaiian, Native American, and Latin American culture is idol worshipping. Although our culture has been divorced from the doctrine, …our ritual culture can be revitalized in temple rituals. When we have returned to them, the doctrine has greater power, to remove the scales of darkness, to see our real condition. In our blinded state, “All is well in Zion.” But this is not reality.
A hui hou!